Though the races, the competitions, the tournaments had not yet begun, it was a moment of triumph. It was the parade of nations.
As the citizens from countries from around the world lapped the stadium of the Olympic Opening Ceremony, I was reminded of this moment in our future:
“The nations will walk by its light [the light of the glory of God] and the kings of the earth will bring their grandeur into it. Its gates will never be closed during the day (and there will be no night there). They will bring the grandeur and the wealth of the nations into it” (Revelation 21:24-26).
Nation by nation represented by its finest athletes, by the dedicated few, strolled by. I turned to my husband. “How much greater will this be when it’s for the glory of Christ!” Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Representatives from every nation and culture and people group will join together bound by Christ’s love.
Then China entered. Leading the way was a nine-year-old boy. This boy had not only survived the Sichuan earthquake. He had gone back to save two of his classmates. I was the hall monitor, he said. It was my job to take care of the others.
What a beautiful picture of the cloud of witnesses that will lead the way as we celebrate God’s faithfulness in the eschaton. The martyrs, old and young, will march joyfully, basking in Christ’s glory. They had not just survived. They went back to save the others because of their responsibility to all of humanity.
The Opening Ceremony gave me a glimpse into the future resurrection of God’s good creation. It will be a time of rejoicing, celebration, and triumph. While the artistry of the night stressed harmony between the nations, it is tenuous at best. This harmony won’t stop wars, child slavery, famine. As Christians, we look toward (and indeed work toward) a true harmony that not only sees the cessation of all evil but actively re-creates in love, truth, and beauty.
Heather A. Goodman is a speaker on art and Christianity, living creatively, the adventure of the Christian life, and spiritual formation of the artist. She writes both fiction and nonfiction and blogs at L'Chaim and Tapestry: A Christian Women's Collective. She loves wiggling her toes through the sand, torturing herself through Pilates, and breaking into song and dance. And she's addicted to books. You can find Heather at www.heathergoodman.com .For more information on Heather's speaking, call 469-766-2157 or email firstname.lastname@example.org